Israel Forever

For the week ending 31 March 2007 / 12 Nisan 5767

A Great Shabbat!

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"Have a great Shabbat!"

This has quickly become the popular way of wishing a fellow Jew an extraordinary spiritual and physical experience on the sacred day of rest.

Although every Shabbat can indeed be a great one if properly utilized, the title "Great Shabbat" is traditionally accorded to the Shabbat before Pesach, which is known as "Shabbat Hagadol" (the Great Shabbat).

There will be no special Torah reading in the synagogue this Shabbat, only a special haftarah, but this is called the Great Shabbat because of the great miracle that took place on the Shabbat before the Exodus 3319 years ago. That is when our ancestors prepared themselves for the instant transformation from slaves in a corrupt idol-worshipping country into a holy nation. They did so by taking the very animal worshipped by the Egyptians and defiantly binding it in preparation for a sacrifice to be offered four days later. The inability of their Egyptian masters to prevent this is considered a great miracle that memorialized this day as the Great Shabbat.

There is much to be improved in Israel in regard to private and public observance of Shabbat. It is to be hoped that this Great Shabbat will inspire all Jews to make every Shabbat a great Shabbat in Israel forever.

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